Alabama Construction News

JUL-SEP 2017

Alabama Construction News is the states only bimonthly magazine dedicated to the commercial construction industry.

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Page 22 of 67

21 JUL-SEP 2017 AL CONSTRUCTION NEWS This year, the Academy is positioned for even greater success. For the 2017-2018 school year, approximately 197 students are already registered to attend thus far. Schools participating in the opportunities at the Academy have also increased. This year, 24 schools are partaking, up from 14 last year. "I think that increase is because of word of mouth because we've been out talking to schools and exposing parents to the opportunities here for their children," said Poindexter. "This past spring we had a parent meet and greet, and we had more than 300 people in attendance. We had to pull in more seats to accommodate everyone. It was amazing to see so many parents interested in what our program is all about." Getting parents in the door to learn about careers in construction is also working to illustrate what the industry is really all about, ridding many parents of the untrue thoughts about craft trades. "There are many who have a negative connotation attached to the industry, but exposing them to the industry and having CEOs of major construction companies coming in to talk to them really makes an impact," Poindexter added. "Parents hearing straight from industry professionals is critical, and that's what we're able to do." The Academy has also made great strides with students at nontraditional career tech schools. Many Over the Mountain schools, such as Homewood High School, Mountain Brook High School, Vestavia Hills High School, Hoover High School and Spain Park High School, do not have a strong focus on career tech but are sending students to partake in the Academy's programs. "These schools are traditionally more geared toward college prep, but they are providing students with the opportunity to get involved with us," Poindexter said. "Last year, for example, we had three students from Vestavia, and next year we're going to have 14. We had one student from Homewood last year and this year we'll have four. We're making progress with a lot of schools that historically haven't been geared toward career tech." To provide even more opportunities for students, this school year the Academy will offer morning and afternoon sessions. Last year, only morning sessions were available. This change is just one more way the Academy is working to find ways to attract and educate workers for the industry. "We are trying to meet the needs of all schools, so we thought offering two different timeframes would help," said Poindexter. "We are always looking for ways to accommodate more students and help train them. A career in the construction industry is so rewarding, and we want to do everything we can to share that." When ABC of Alabama made workforce development its mission a year or so ago, the industry made great strides in recruiting and educating workers with the Academy of Craft Training. For its inaugural year, the Academy trained 92 students from all across Greater Birmingham and provided them with NCCER construction-related training in building construction, masonry, HVAC/plumbing, welding and electrical in a simulated workplace environment, which illustrated a real-world work experience. "The last school year could not have gone better," said Linda Poindexter, director of the Academy. "We are happy to report that 90 percent of our graduating seniors will be placed for employment. That's incredible." 90 percent of our graduating seniors will be placed for employment. That's incredible."

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